Weekend Box Office: Who Makes These B.O. Estimates?!

Last weekend’s box office forecast was blown out of the water by the supercharged openings of ‘The Vow‘, ‘Safe House‘ and ‘Journey 2‘, but this week’s supposedly clear winner closed out the weekend in the #4 spot, $9 million under expectations. It’s like they asked my local weatherman to make the box office predictions!

Note: Different box office sites viewed this weekend differently. Some have announced three-day results, others four-day including the holiday. I’m going off Box Office Mojo‘s four-day estimates.

Predictions named ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance‘ the clear winner with $34.5 million, but after Friday’s shaky start, it was obvious that the movie wasn’t going to fare as well as expected. When the four-day actuals are announced this afternoon, ‘Ghost Rider’ is presumed to finish with $25.7 million, behind week-olds ‘Safe House’ ($28.4 million), ‘The Vow’ ($26.6 million) and ‘Journey 2’ ($26.4 million). Note that Nic Cage’s first ‘Ghost Rider‘ opened on this same weekend in 2007 with $52 million, more than twice that of 3D ‘Spirit of Vengeance’.

McG’s action rom-com ‘This Means War‘ opened right where it was expected and right where it deserves to be, in the #5 spot. Predicted to make $19.7 million, it actually made $20.4 million. ‘This Means War‘ didn’t warrant the $50 million opening that ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith‘ received – but then again, ‘This Means War’ is less than half the movie ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ was in both star power and creativity.

The latest domestically Disney-distributed Studio Ghibli title, ‘The Secret World of Arrietty‘, opened $1.2 million above expectations in the #8 spot. With $8.1 million, ‘Arrietty‘ had the best domestic opening of any Studio Ghibli title, more than $4.5 million above ‘Ponyo‘.

With the Oscars less than a week away, the nominees still in-theaters continue to climb as awards watchers make a mad dash to catch up. ‘The Descendants’, ‘The Artist’, ‘Hugo’ and ‘The Iron Lady’ all saw bumps in attendance.

Top 10:

1. ‘Safe House’ (Universal) – $28,400,000

2. ‘The Vow’ (Screen Gems) – $26,600,000

3. ‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ (Warner Bros.) – $26,400,000

4. ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ (Sony) – $25,700,000

5. ‘This Means War’ (Fox) – $20,400,000

6. ‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (in 3D)’ (Fox) – $10,150,000

7. ‘Chronicle’ (Fox) – $9,200,000

8. ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’ (Buena Vista) – $8,102,000

9. ‘The Woman in Black’ (CBS) – $7,920,000

10. ‘The Grey’ (ORF) – $3,768,000

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